In Hades, each Infernal Arm you use to escape from Hell has its own unique abilities. The different weapons — combined with the various perks and god-given boons you can choose and the artifacts you can equip — ensure no two escape attempts are quite the same. Like the gods, I do not play favourites when it comes to choosing a weapon for a given run, they’re all equally good with their own advantages and drawbacks. After hours of research, rather than rank these weapons I have decided to provide a handy explainer for what your favourite Infernal Arm says about you.
Sword: The Stygian Blade
Stygian Blade wielders are the paragon of tradition. They like their coffee black and their eggs scrambled, but not too runny. They follow the rules, drive the speed limit, and leave a 15% tip on every check, every time. Sword users are the kind of people you think of when you need to file taxes or win a game of Trivial Pursuit. They have a resting heart rate of 75 bpm and the last time a registrable emotion crossed their face was back in 1991 when Freddie Mercury died. (Sword users are also big Queen fans. We don’t yet know why, they just are.) They are staid, reliable, hard-working individuals who go to bed with a glass of warm milk and exactly 30 minutes of Law and Order: SVU reruns before lights out.
Sword users benefit most from using their dash-strike and not much else. To make this weapon more than the milquetoast sharp stick that it is, start investing Titan Blood, a lot of it. The Aspect of Nemesis is nice for its critical-hit chance and casters will also enjoy the Aspect of Posiedon, but the sword is just not that interesting until you unlock its hidden Aspect.
Best pairings for Sword People: Water with lemon. Meth.
Natural Enemy: People who flavour their food.
Shield: Shield of Chaos
Chaos fits you, shield bearer. Not because of all the mayhem and destruction you cause with your chosen weapon. No, leave that for the spear-folk. You are Chaos because you are an unknowable, primordial, and sublime creature who defies mortal explanation. Like an electron, you bounce between states of energetic activity and torpid rest. You are both fun-loving and risk-averse. Shield people, like their chosen weapon, are unreliable. Do not call them for help, in fact, don’t call them at all. They won’t pick up the phone… probably.
The Shield is the wild-card weapon. It has the capacity to melt the faces off your enemies or bore you to tears while shield-bashing over and over again. Its ability to block comes in handy when dealing with projectile monsters like that butterfly ball in Elysium, but it requires standing in place to block properly, and if you are standing in place in Hades you are going to die. The Aspect of Chaos is nice for its Captain America-esque bonus to your shield-throw special, which will come in handy for clearing rooms in the Temple of Styx.
Best Pairings for Shield People: A Blu-ray Special Edition version of Interstellar. Cats.
Natural Enemy: Punctuality.
Bow: Coronacht, The Heart-Seeking Bow
Beware the people of the bow. They are liars, thieves, and con artists. Bow people are like a toxic ex. Sure, they once drunkenly peed on all your clothes and almost burned down your house, but they’re also the most fun you’ve ever had with a person and you’re just so confused by your feelings that you want to call them at 2:00 a.m. just to feel alive again. The bow is called “Heart-Seeking” because a bow person will be your one true love and your one true heartbreak. Resist the allure of the bow people, they sit on a throne of lies and broken promises.
The bow is so good when it is configured correctly and garbage when it’s not, and it takes a lot of specific boons to make the bow work. If you must attempt to escape with your bow, please, for the love of Hades, find the Daedalus Hammer that increases your rate of fire at the expense of your power shot. Only then does the bow become useful. If you find yourself in Tartarus without that Daedalus Hammer perk, take boons that upgrade your special. Better yet, do not choose the bow unless you’ve unlocked the Aspect of Chiron which turns your special’s arrows into homing missiles that hit the last enemy you’ve attacked.
Best Pairings for Bow People: Jesus.
Natural Enemy: Truth. Goodness.
Rail: Exagryph, The Adamant Rail
Why are you a gun? You don’t belong here. You are a person out of time. How did you get here, Rail? Were you dropped in from a disturbance in the time continuum? Or did we come from an ancient but technologically advanced civilisation who somehow, someway vanished leaving you, the rocket-launching gun, behind as its only evidence. Do not mix Rail people with Bow people or, like matter and antimatter, the two will violently cancel out, leaving behind a void of destruction.
People don’t like the Rail because it must be reloaded. Those people lack patience and understanding. But it’s ok Rail, you prove your worth with your rocket special, enhanced by the Daedalus Hammer boon that allows you to fire three projectiles in a row. The Rail run is one of specials and dashing — specials clear the bigger targets, dashing the smaller. Take boons that enhance both. Augment your Rail with a good cast (Zeus’ Electric Shot for example) and a good call (Artemis’ Aid is by far the most potent and most fun).
Best Pairings for Rail people: Remembering to reload.
Natural Enemy: Moving targets.
Fists: Twin Fists of Malphon
Fist people are beloved by all, and rightly so. They are naturally blessed with beauty, talent, integrity, and a great head of hair. It is scientifically proven that fist users have awesome hair. Look it up. Do not be intimidated by a fist user’s charisma, they can’t help it. They are capable of seducing you, your partner, and your mother, such is their natural charm and raw sexual power. Not only will a fist wielder help you hide a body, they’ll do the actual murder for you. They might even kill you too, depends on the day.
The fists don’t look all that powerful but they’re actually a really fun weapon that will surprise the Hades out of you with its abilities. Fists require you to be in melee range, which can be scary for fighting Asterius the Minotaur or clearing rooms in the Temple of Styx, but that’s why you have casts and dashing. While you should always hit your enemies from behind when possible, you definitely want to focus on that when, erm, fisting. Equip trinkets that power up your attack when you do, and also consider taking boons or equipping artifacts/trinkets that power-up your damage when striking undamaged foes. The Daedalus Hammer perk that has the fists dealing an extra 900% damage to armour is a must (especially if you struggle with the Bone Hydra… which you shouldn’t, but sometimes we all fall short).
Best Pairings for Fist People: Nothing, they are perfect.
Natural Enemy: Sharp fingernails.
Spear: Varatha, the Eternal Spear
If Fist people are perfect, Spear people are gods themselves. They are the Beyoncé of people. Spear people had happy childhoods with loving parents. They were both captain of the football team and head cheerleader, as spear people are not constrained by the gender binary nor the roles society imposes on that binary.
The spear is the perfect weapon. It has melee attacks and ranged attacks. Its special attack damages enemies when the spear is thrown and when it’s recalled back (perfect for perks that increase hit-from-behind damage). It’s the all-star. The spin attack is a little slow and the Aspect of Achilles is pretty bad (which explains how he ended up dead), but with the increased range and damage boon and the chain-attack boon, you’ll never need to spin to win anyway. For the easiest time, put a boon that inflicts Dionysus’ damage-over-time Hangover effect or Demeter’s Frost Strike on the attack. There is a reason King Hades used the spear as his own personal weapon — it’s simply the best.
Best Pairings for Spear People: Winners. People who haven’t cleared Hades yet.
Natural Enemy: People who hate fun.
As for myself, I am, naturally, a Spear. But like the gods, I love all my patricidal murder-weapon children equally.
Except for you, Shield, you can rot in Tartarus in the trash heaps of discarded shades where you belong.
If you have a favourite weapon, I would get outside of your comfort zone by choosing a new one. I’m confident you’ll find something endearing in each one… even the shield.
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